WWE’s new policy on wrestlers and other talent engaging with fans on third party online platforms continues to sound like a work in progress. But likely because of the amount of pushback from people inside and outside the company, each update we get sounds like a softening of the initial edict.
Avid gamer and streamer AJ Styles is the latest Superstar to offer their interpretation of what WWE’s been telling their contractors. Styles is an interesting case, as he’s used his professional name since before signing with Vince McMahon and presumably has the right to do so outside his work with WWE. So unlike Xavier Woods (who’s always produced UpUpDownDown content as Austin Creed) or Paige (who announced she was changing her Twitch account to her legal name Saraya), Vince’s team could face even more challenges if they wanted to force AJ to shut down or alter his streaming accounts.
Styles didn’t go into great detail while discussing the situation on his Tuesday night (Sept. 8) Twitch stream, but he did indicate that he expects to be able to continue on as he has been... even if it means changing his account details:
“From the contacts that I’ve had, the information that I got, WWE does want us to interact with our fans, and that means streaming - they want this to happen. They want you to have a YouTube channel, like there are things that they want you to do and be able to do. And what we know was a little vague at first, but we’re going to talk about what needs to happen.
“Listen, there were some things going on that we knew we couldn’t do. We really did. But times have changed, things have happened, you know - stadiums, we’re in one, but we weren’t. And there’s no people in the stadium that we’re in. So it’s a weird time. So we did different things and it was borderline whether we knew we could do it or not. And so those will be answered.
“But streaming I think is not going to be one of those that’s being taken away. YouTube is not one of those things that’s going to be taken away. There will be changes in other areas, I’m sure of it, I’m sure of it. And I don’t know exactly where that is. But again, let me say this one more time, they - the WWE - they want us to be able to stream and interact with our fans. That’s exactly what we’re doing. That’s exactly what I’m doing. From Adam Cole to [Tyler] Breeze and Xavier Woods to Baron Corbin, that’s what we do. It’s fun... Streaming, YouTube, I think we’re gonna be okay... Don’t stress out about ‘bad guy WWE,’ it’s not like that... despite what you might think, despite what the dirt sheets say, I mean it’s a great place to work. Like I say, I’ll let my own children work for this company.
”Let me just let you guys know - I own my name. That’s how I’ve been able to use it no matter where I’ve been. I’ve given permission for WWE to use it as long as I’m with them. Therefore, it’s their property as long as I’m under contract.
“As I said before, WWE wants us to interact with you, the fans, so as far as I know, I can continue using my name for the stream, but it doesn’t matter to me. I can be whatever. I can be Allen Jones or Styles Clash, whatever - it’s not that big of a deal.”
Honestly not entirely sure what AJ’s getting at when discussing the “weird time” and how those are leading to the changes. My guess is he’s saying COVID (and he also addresses his positive test during this session) has forced all fan engagement into the virtual world, and that’s forced WWE to act to stop the “things going on” wrestlers knew they shouldn’t be doing (maybe things like this?).
But it does sound like we can continue to expect YouTube and Twitch content from our favorite WWE Superstars. Or at least from one Allen Jones, aka The Phenomenal AJ Styles.